Monday, March 23rd, 2020
KINGSTON, ON: The province of Ontario has ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses today as the number of COVID-19 cases in Canada surpasses 2,000. Over 500 families rely on the Memorial Centre Farmers’ Market for a significant portion of their weekly groceries.
CBC: “Premier Doug Ford… said the list of what constitutes essential and non-essential services and stores will be released Tuesday… he insisted residents will be able to buy food and medicine and other essential products”
Farmers markets are not currently listed as an essential service. Farmers markets provide a crucial service to farmers in providing a local distribution channel for their products – even if physical markets are not possible right now.
The Memorial Centre Farmers’ Market has already closed the open-air market and transitioned to an online ordering pick-up and delivery system to continue to deliver our member’s products.
Farmers Markets are essential components of local food systems. The State of New York recently declared farmers markets an essential service (LINK).
If you want to eat fresh local food this season, now is the time to act!
This is a narrow 12-hour window to ensure locally farmed food can continue to flow through this time. Once the list has been released, it will be up to the regional health authorities to interpret it.
What do I say? Some tips:
You may get a live person or need to leave a message. Explain who you are (consumer, farmer) and why it’s important to you that ALL food-based businesses and farms capable of safe delivery or pickup must be explicitly listed as essential services. Talk about the food sources that you, your family, and your community rely on. Feel free to jot down what you want to say in advance if that helps.
Please take a few moments to make a few calls and e-mails as soon as possible:
- Your most connected friends and family members
- Your MPP:
- Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs
- Ministry of Health
- Christine Elliott, Minister of Health
Thank you for supporting local food and farmers!
- Jolene Cheryl Simko
- Marketing and Recruitment Manager